What is Layering?
When it’s cold outside, it is usually a good idea to layer multiple items of clothing to maximize how warm you stay. The same can be done with cannabis. By “layering” different cannabis products you can prevent tolerance to one type of product and increase the desired effects of your medicine, keeping you soothed for a longer duration of time.
Simply put, like layering your clothes to maximize your body warmth, laying your cannabis delivery systems can maximize your symptom relief.
Cannabis Delivery Systems
Before we jump into layering, let’s start with an overview of the different cannabis delivery systems.
Inhalants: Products that allow for cannabis compounds to be introduced to your body by inhaling cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) and terpenes through smoke or vapor from flower/ vape cartridges. Inhalants have an almost immediate effect and can last for 1-4 hours.
Edibles: Products that introduce cannabis to your body through oral consumption such as cookies & tinctures. Edibles pass through the liver, making their onset time anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours. Though it takes longer to feel the effects of edibles, the effects can last between 4-10 hours.
Topicals: Any product that is applied directly to your skin such as salves or soaking salts. You can experience pain relief of topicals for up to 1 hour, with an immediate onset.
Each delivery method introduces cannabis to your body through different biological systems. If you are layering your medicine, then you are combining two or more of the above methods to maximize your ideal level of relief and time frame for comfort. Once you understand the separate delivery systems, you can consider which combinations will work best for you.
Remember, average onsets are just that, an average. You might have a unique experience where a product takes less or more time to take effect. Also, hormones, food, anxiety, and pain play a role in your felt experience with cannabis.
Layering Your Medicine
Now that we know the typical onset time and duration of each delivery system, we can determine what cannabis products to layer, at what time, for maximum relief.
Example: Getting Ready for Sleep
If you are battling insomnia, you can start your layering by eating a relaxing edible such as an indica chocolate or a hops tincture. The edible will take anywhere from 30 minutes – 2 hours to start to offer you pain relief and ease you into sleep. However, the effects will be long lasting.
While you are waiting for the onset of the edible, you can use a relaxing inhalant such Rare Dream to provide you immediate relief and prepare you for sleep. Though the effects of the inhalant will start to fade within 4 hours, the edible will swaddle you with relaxation.
The inhalant aids in reducing the felt anxiety of waiting for edibles to kick in. By layering these products, you are increasing your chance of falling asleep and staying asleep. The same process can be used during the day with uplifting or high CBD products. Since topicals are non-psychoactive they can be layered at any time with any product for maximum pain relief.
Remember: Timing is everything. Be mindful of timing the onset of each product to match your individual needs.
3 Tips for Staying Safe While Layering Cannabis
- Be mindful of how each product affects you before layering. Layering your medicine can yield powerful effects, so be sure you are comfortable with the effects of each product separately before combining them.
- Always start low and slow. Layering can increase the effect of each individual product. When layering, consider using a lower dose. Products can potentiate (increase) each other’s effect. Once you have determined the effect of your layering choices you can adjust your intake to achieve the symptom relief you need.
- When choosing your products for layering, be aware of onset time and length of effect for each product. With that knowledge, you can coordinate when to take each product to achieve the desired effect and decrease the possibility of unwanted side effects.
The Verdes Foundation offers a variety of products to facilitate your layering process. During your next visit ask our knowledgeable staff which products may work best for your needs. And remember if you ever have questions about the interactions between cannabis and pharmaceuticals, please contact your health care provider.